Montanans Reminded About REAL ID as Deadline Approaches

(STL.News) – In preparation for the October 1, 2020, federally enforced deadline for identification changes to fly domestically or enter secure federal facilities, the Montana Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) would like to remind citizens about REAL ID.

REAL ID is an option that can be added to your Montana driver license or identification card for an additional fee.  If you add it during your renewal cycle, the cost is an additional $25.00; outside your renewal cycle it is $50.00.

So, what is REAL ID? While most people have heard of it, some don’t know how a REAL ID is different from their current ID.  “The feedback we’ve gotten shows that people still have questions about REAL ID,” said Sarah Garcia, MVD Administrator.  “We want to provide information to allow people to decide if they need a REAL ID.”

A REAL ID looks like a regular driver license or ID, with a gold star added to the upper right corner to indicate it is REAL ID compliant.  The gold star allows security officials to quickly recognize that a person’s identity has been verified, which speeds up security screenings.

With the deadline only months away, MVD is working hard to inform the public and answer questions about REAL ID.  One common misconception is that everyone is required by law to get a REAL ID.  “Obtaining a REAL ID is a choice.  You don’t need it to vote or drive if you already have a driver license,” Garcia said.  “If you don’t travel by air or visit secure federal facilities like courthouses or military bases, you may not need a REAL ID.  Each person should make the decision for themselves based upon their individual needs,” Garcia added.

Montanans can also use other forms of identification, such as military ID cards or passports.

If you’re planning on getting a REAL ID, MVD has some tips on how to make the process go smoothly:

• Make an appointment in advance.  Appointment times in some parts of the state are booked out six to eight weeks.
• Driver licenses may be renewed within six months of their expiration date, and appointments can be made up to six months in advance.
• Before your appointment, gather all the required documents, making sure they are certified, if required.  Getting certified documents from other states can take several days or weeks; request the documents with enough lead time.
• Lastly, don’t forget to bring documents that account for name changes.  If your name has changed due to marriage or divorce, you will have to provide documentation that demonstrates the change if all documents do not reflect the same name

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